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New Zealand tour is complete!

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New Zealand tour is complete!

Old 06-05-12, 01:32 PM
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New Zealand tour is complete!

It was amazing

It's nice to actually go touring instead of sitting at work reading and obsessing about it. We biked 1100 km of the South Island, spending 20 out of 28 days on the bike (and running one half-marathon!). Here's a few things I learned (probably all listed in the tips sticky, but there's nothing like learning first hand):

- Taking five minutes to adjust your seat makes all the difference
- Always carry a day's rations of emergency food - you never know if the only shop in 150 km might be closed
- A spare tube AND a patch kit are both necessary, but duct tape can last a surprisingly long time
- If there's two people, don't assume the other person has the pump
- There's no shame in taking a bus
- Rain gear is worth the weight
- If you have a chance to take a quiet, mountainous, windy road instead of a flat busy one, do it
- Bike touring counts as training for a half marathon, if you don't care about your time

All in all, it was a great experience. I'm looking forward to the next one already!
(Shameless plug) I'm in the middle of blogging about it too: https://charlottefern.blogspot.ca/sea.../New%20Zealand
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Old 06-05-12, 01:55 PM
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Great pictures, I enjoyed looking at them....seriously jelly
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Old 06-05-12, 04:14 PM
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Your summary of what you learned, charbucks, is excellent. And yes, experience is the key.

New Zealand is on our list of things to do. Although it is only across the Tasman Sea from us, we've never been there (and for me as an Australian, that's probably a sin). And it's not on the agenda for our upcoming round-the-worlder... so it looks like it will be the next big trip we do after that.
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Old 06-06-12, 05:59 AM
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Nice. Thanks for sharing.

Andrew
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Old 06-06-12, 06:47 AM
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Nice, thanks for posting! NZ was my first solo tour, years ago, and I loved it, this brings back memories. I was in a lot of the same places.
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Old 06-06-12, 09:02 AM
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Looks like a great trip, thanks!
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Old 06-06-12, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by valygrl
Nice, thanks for posting! NZ was my first solo tour, years ago, and I loved it, this brings back memories. I was in a lot of the same places.
It's a beautiful country, isn't it! I don't think I'm quite ready for a solo tour just yet, but I could see NZ being the place to do it. I've heard it's got more solo female travellers than anywhere else, because it's just such a safe and friendly place.
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Old 06-06-12, 01:45 PM
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Charbucks, sounds like you had a great trip. We toured New Zealand in 1988 and it was fantastic. Near Queenstown, they had cleared away the town for the dam you talked about in your journal, but I don't think the dam was up and running yet. When we stayed in Q'town we scheduled a bus trip to Milford Sound, but there was a landslide that closed the road and we were unable to get there. It's too bad you didn't bicycle over Haast Pass to the West Coast. We thought that was the most beautiful part of our trip. At that time, you could walk right up to the end of the Franz Josef Glacier. Amazing!! NZ is on our list to return. BTW, last summer we cycled in BC from Victoria-Prince Rupert-Jasper. Didn't quite get to Calgary.
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Old 06-06-12, 05:04 PM
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How were the drivers and the traffic? I've read some things that say the drivers aren't too friendly to cyclists.
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Old 06-06-12, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood
How were the drivers and the traffic? I've read some things that say the drivers aren't too friendly to cyclists.
My wife and I toured NZ in 2007. We felt that it wasn't that the drivers weren't friendly, on the contrary, we had drivers stop us and ask us if we needed directions, it's that they generally didn't move over much when passing us.

Although it was occasionally frustrating and scary, the scenery and incredibly friendly Kiwis more than made up for it.
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Old 06-07-12, 09:21 AM
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SanDiegoCyclist: I heard about the landslide risk - too bad! Milford Sound is beautiful, although if I were to return I don't think I'd take a tour bus. Or maybe have the bus drop me off for a couple of days of hiking/biking to really experience it. We also really wanted to cycle over Haast, but we only had a week to get to Blenheim for our half marathon so it just didn't seem practical.

Ironwood: For the most part, I would say they were quite friendly. Contrary to niknak's experience, I found that if possible, most cars passed us as if we were cars, with plenty of space. The main issue is that the infrastructure isn't very good for cycling, and the shoulders are mostly non-existent. Also, the big logging trucks, milk trucks, animal transport trucks, etc, were very scary. Those guys just don't want to slow down for anything! Once we had a transport truck actually honk at us to get out of the way on a busy and narrow section. There was no shoulder, so we both just swerved into the ditch.
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